Field hockey player captures attention with outstanding performance.
BY ANTONIA CAMPBELL, ’22. PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMILY BARKER.
On June 15th, 2021, junior Emily Barker was bombarded with phone calls. It was the first day of NCAA recruitment for the class of 2023, and Barker was a target of many field hockey coaches who wanted her for their program. But only one phone call truly mattered.
Barker started playing field hockey when she was 8-years-old because her sister was playing field hockey at Michigan State at the time. She started playing club field hockey shortly after and has worked to be a respected player.
Barker has a plethora of accomplishments—winning tournaments for her club team and starting as center-mid for the UA team since her freshman year—and her talent has not gone unnoticed. In 2019, she was in the AAU Junior Olympics Selection and won First Team All League. In 2020, she won First Team All League-West and was ranked among the top 50 players of her class.
Behind all of her achievements was one goal: to play Division I field hockey at The Ohio State University. So, when she got a call with an offer, she knew the hard work paid off.
“OSU offered me on the first day so I felt at ease because I was like okay, I know they want me, they already offered me, so I had the whole summer to commit. I actually didn’t have to decide this summer, but I wanted to commit by the end of summer, so I had the time to kick back and look at other schools and just take in the whole recruitment experience instead of just committing then and there,” Barker said.
Barker began going to field hockey clinics and camps at The Ohio State University in seventh grade. She had her heart set on going to OSU and knew it was the right choice.
“I’ve been a buckeye my whole life and I’ve been to the games since I was a baby. I’ve always loved watching the football games and basketball games. Then I started playing field hockey and ever since I stepped on their field, it just felt so right, and I knew that I wanted to go there. The coaches are my favorite people, and they’re so nice and fun. I just felt the most at home [there],” she said.
Barker attributes her success to the fact that she set her goal of playing Division I field hockey when she was barely a teenager.
“I started working out and going to the gym so I could get stronger when I was in seventh grade. I would go to the field on my own time and hit the ball around and shoot on the cage because l knew I wanted to get there, and I knew that it would be a lot of work and very challenging to get to Division I. Especially with playing club, spending my summers training, and going to camps instead of going on vacation is what sets me apart,” she said.
Barker’s biggest inspiration is her sister, who was a three time All-American when she played for MSU.
“I would go to all of her games and I just loved watching her. She’s the one who I’m always texting about field hockey. She has helped me so much develop as a player and as a person. She’s my biggest motivation and the reason I played field hockey in the first place,” Barker said.
As far as UAHS field hockey goes, Barker said she looks forward to her junior season.
“We have a great coaching staff and I’ve learned a lot from them and especially this year,” she said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play with fourteen seniors.”